I already hit you with previews of the biggest fights of the weekend — Chad Dawson-Glen Johnson II at light heavyweight, Nicolay Valuev-David Haye at heavyweight — but there are other things you need to know that are going down, starting in a few hours. And so, quite simply, I will tell you.
ESPN Friday Night Fights, Wednesday, North Carolina. At a military base, two sparring partners of Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, who are fighting next weekend at 145 pounds, will duel it out. Don’t expect it to prove much about how Pacquiao-Cotto might go, even if reports out of Pacquiao’s camp are that he handled Rashad Holloway and Francisco Figueroa came hurtling out of Cotto’s camp saying he gave Cotto the business. People in the know are high on Holloway, despite being unproven in the professional ranks, and Figueroa has some skill despite getting clocked by Randall Bailey in the first high-profile fight of his career. In the other major bout on the card, resurgent junior lightweight Jason Litzau probably won’t have any trouble dispatching Johnnie Edwards.
HBO undercard, Saturday, Connecticut. The highlight of this card is Alfredo Angulo-Harry Joe Yorgey at junior middleweight. It’s for an interim WBO belt, even though I thought there already was an interim WBO titlist, Paul Williams — a status for this fight that has Kermit Cintron, who recently beat Angulo, all peeved. Sanctioning organizations suck, if I haven’t mentioned it before. Anyway, Angulo probably will roll, but nobody expected Yorgey to pull the upset over Ron Hearns, either. It’ll probably be interesting, either way, since that’s how Angulo fights.
Haye-Valuev undercard, pay-per-view, Saturday, the United Kingdom. The major noteworthy fight here features John Ruiz, the heavyweight everybody loves to hate because of his style, although his new training team says he’ll be doing less clinching from now on. The reason it’s noteworthy is because he’s guaranteed a shot at the winner of Haye-Valuev, which would be his third such bout with Valuev and, if not, a chance for Haye to win over some folk by dispatching Ruiz. Ruiz’ opponent is Adnan Serin, who hasn’t won any of his last three fights and really is just a stay-busy opponent since Ruiz was awarded a spot on the undercard as part of his deal to step aside and let Haye and Valuev fight for Valuev’s title.
GoFightLive, New Jersey, Saturday. Welterweight Mike Jones might be the unluckiest fighter in the sport. I’ve lost count of how many times a top-flight opponent has pulled out of a fight with Jones, whom some are high on but just isn’t getting a chance to prove his skill with repeated late substitutes. Richard Gutierrez was the latest to leave Jones in the lurch, and Raul Pinzon, his replacement opponent, isn’t on Jones’ level.
Zab Judah and Joel Casamayor pay-per-view, Las Vegas, Friday. If you pay the $24.95 or whatever it costs to buy this card, featuring the putrid welterweight Judah fighting nobody (as if this “gets him something” or “pays him what he’s worth,” the lack of which being reasons he’s recently turned down fights with the likes of Shane Mosley and Antonio Diaz) and Casamayor in a marginally more plausible fight at junior welterweight, then you officially need to check into a rehab clinic. You are addicted to boxing, and it’s only a matter of time until you start buying “Bum Fight” DVDs.
Sam Sexton-Martin Rogan rematch, United Kingdom, Friday. Rogan’s an exciting but limited heavyweight who probably would have beaten Sexton if not for a controversial stoppage that generated heat for a rematch. So here you have it. I’m glad we got this — too often, a boxer who comes away with a controversial win avoids rematches, so good for Sexton (even if this was his biggest-money option).